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A fast train network connecting greater Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle as a "mega region" could create more than 10,000 new jobs, according to a new report.
A planning lobby group, the Committee for Sydney, said such a rail network could slash the commutes from Gosford to Sydney, and from Wollongong to Liverpool, by half.
The report said even a moderately fast rail network, which reaches speeds of 200 kilometres per hour, could connect Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong with western Sydney in less than one hour.
|Connection||Current speed||New speed|
|Newcastle to Gosford||66 minutes||35 minutes|
|Gosford to Sydney||80 minutes||40 minutes|
|Newcastle direct to Parramatta (missing the Central Coast)||153 minutes||60 minutes|
|Wollongong to Sydney CBD||85 minutes||60 minutes|
|Wollongong to Liverpool via Campbelltown||124 minutes||60 minutes|
Housing affordability to improveBuilding new housing along such rail corridors could take the pressure off the Sydney housing market, the report said.
The Committee for Sydney has spent a year investigating the potential of improving links between Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong in what it is describing as a "mega-region".
It estimates that if an extra 40,000 homes were built along the new rail corridors, that could deliver more than $75 billion of housing affordability improvements.
It also said such a rail network could create 4,725 new jobs for Wollongong, 3,875 for Gosford and 3,225 for Newcastle.
The Committee is calling this interconnected area "the Sandstone mega-region".
It is following the lead of mega-regions in the Netherlands and south-east China, which it said has delivered improved economic and social outcomes for their communities.
The Committee said the area covered by the mega-region is already home to more than 70 per cent of the state's population and nearly 25 per cent of the national population.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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